In a previous publication, one of the authors recalled an occasion when he had been exposed to a minority position that argued in favour of smoking in his college: `. . . one of us, an aggressive non-smoker, found himself sitting in a college meeting at which the authorities were just about to ban smoking completely from all premises. He found himself, ®rst, intrigued by the courage of the lone spokesman for the tiny rump of collegiate smokers; then listening to the eloquent, cogent arguments; then changing his mind about banning smoking from the college; and, ®nally, voting against it!' (Martin & Hewstone, 2008, p. 316). This story, which is typical of situations where minorities have in¯uence, identi®es some of the key stages in minority in¯uenceÐinitial reluctance to listen to the minority arguments, interest in the minority position because it is numerically distinctive and perhaps also novel, evaluation of the merits of the minority's arguments, agreement with the minority, and, ®nally, engaging in behaviours consistent with the minority-endorsed opinions (although happily the in¯uence was limited to the voting behaviour as the author concerned has remained a
non-smoker!). The above `stages' mirror the aims of the vast bulk of research into majority and minority in¯uenceÐunderstanding the underlying processes, when these occur and what effects they have on attitudes, opinions and behaviours.